HTC, Apple, Omni-ID, Avalanche: Intellectual Property

HTC Corp. (2498) won dismissal of two Nokia Oyj (NOK) patent-infringement lawsuits in Germany, the first rulings from that country in the global intellectual-property dispute between the companies.

The judges didn’t find that HTC violated Nokia’s patents, Joachim Bock, spokesman for the Mannheim Regional Court, which heard the cases, said in an interview March 8. In one of the actions, Nokia argued HTC illicitly used its technology to run Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Play store on its smartphones.

Nokia last year sued HTC, BlackBerry and ViewSonic Corp. in the U.S., U.K. and Germany over a total of 45 patents. The Finnish mobile-phone maker, struggling to reverse a slide in sales, settled with BlackBerry in December. A month earlier, HTC reached a global settlement with Apple Inc. (AAPL) of their patent disputes. Nokia can appeal the March 8 ruling.

“Nokia respectfully disagrees with the court’s decision and we are considering our options,” Mark Durrant, spokesman for the Espoo, Finland-based company, said in an e-mailed statement. Nokia asserted violation of more than 30 further patents against HTC in Germany, the U.S. and the U.K. and expects to prevail regarding those, he said.

“Nokia has exaggerated the scope of its patent in order to extract unwarranted licensing royalties from Android handset manufacturers,” HTC said in an e-mailed statement referring to Google’s mobile software. “The Android platform is now safe from oppressive enforcement of this patent.”

Google supported Taiwan’s HTC as a party in the case over the Play store, which allows Android device users to download applications and media.

The Mannheim court is scheduled to rule March 19 on whether HTC infringed a Nokia patent for technology used to regulate a device’s battery power use.

Apple Objects to Second Samsung Patent Lawsuit Being Put on Hold

Apple Inc. objected to the possibility that proceedings in a patent lawsuit against Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) scheduled for trial in 2014 will be put on hold while an appeals court reviews an August verdict in an earlier case.

The objection, filed March 7 in federal court in San Jose, California, was in response to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s inquiry at a hearing last month. The judge said she was skeptical of the need for both cases to proceed, especially while the first case is being appealed.

On March 1, Koh reduced a jury’s $1.05 billion damages award to Apple in the first case by $450.5 million. The jury based its award for 14 Samsung products on an incorrect legal theory, Koh ruled. She said the companies should consider appealing her decision before any damages trial begins.

“This case must proceed now, in order to stop the ongoing sales -- and relentless launch -- of Samsung’s latest infringing devices, which have caused, and every day continue to cause, continuing harm to Apple,” the Cupertino, California-based company said in the filing.

Samsung said in the same filing, a joint report filed with Apple, that it agrees with the judge that the second case should be put on hold to “promote judicial economy.” The lawsuit was filed last year and covers technology in newer smartphones made by both companies, including Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Apple’s iPhone 5.

Apple is challenging a decision by Koh that allows Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung to continue selling some products that were found by the jury to infringe Apple patents.

In a Feb. 12 filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, Apple said that Samsung has taken market share based on its “deliberate copying of Apple’s innovative iPhone and iPad products” and asked the court to halt the sales.

In the March 8 filing, Samsung said staying the more recent case will “allow the parties to attempt to reach a business resolution of their disputes.”

The earlier case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-01846, and the case scheduled for trial next year is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-cv-00630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

Omni-ID Says Xerafy Infringes Patents for RFID ‘On-Metal’ Tags

Omni-ID Cayman Ltd., a maker of radio-frequency identification tags, sued a competitor for patent infringement.

In the suit filed in federal court in Camden, New Jersey, Hong Kong-based Xerafy is accused of infringing two patents related to what are known as “on-metal” tags.

Rochester, New York’s Omni-ID claims in its pleadings that to no avail it sent Xerafy cease-and-desist notices related to the two patents in 2012. The company said in a statement that it began a program last year for the licensing of the two disputed patents. Company Chief Executive Officer George E. Daddis Jr. said that “unfortunately, even with the launch of our licensing program, we are still seeing many on-metal products being sold today that are clearly utilizing these foundational technologies owned by Omni-ID.”

In dispute are patents 7,880,619, issued in February 2011, and 7,768,400, issued in August.

Omni-ID asked the court for an order barring further infringement, and for awards of money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Xerafy didn’t respond immediately to an e-mailed request for comment.

The case is Omni-ID USA Inc., v. Xerafy, 1:13-cv-00801-NLH- AMD, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Camden).

For more patent news, click here.

Trademark

Acker Merrall Sued in Hong Kong by LVMH Over Champagne Trademark

Acker Merrall & Condit Co., a New York-based wine-auction house, was sued in a Hong Kong court for trademark infringement by a unit of France’s LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC), the South China Post reported.

LVMH’s MHCS SCS unit claims the auctioneer is infringing marks related to its Rheims, France-based Krug Champagne house, according to the South China Post.

The Champagne-maker seeks a court order barring Acker Merrall Asia from using the marks in connection with products not made by MHCS SCS and also seeks money damages, the newspaper reported.

The auction house, which didn’t respond immediately the Hong Kong newspaper’s request for comment, has held wine auctions there that have brought record princes for French wines, including a case of CH. Le Pin 1982 that went for HK$823,0000 ($106,000), according to the South China Post.

‘Salame Felino’ Gets Geographic-Origin Name Protection in EU

A kind of cured sausage created in Italy’s Parma region received geographic-name protection in the European Union.

According to a March 5 entry in the Official Journal of the European Union, “Salame Felino” is now protected, although Belgium, Germany and France had initially objected to some of the details included in the description of the item.

In order to be designated “Salame Felino,” the sausage must be produced from specific breeds of pigs, and the meat must come from specific parts of the animal. The sausage must be placed into natural hog casing, tied with twine, and must be free of lactose and powdered milk.

According to the journal entry, references to such sausage dates back to the first century, and it was “well known” by the Bourbons. A frieze depicting the sausage can be found in the decorations of the Baptistery of Parma, which dates as far back as 1196.

For more trademark news, click here.

Copyright

Keith Haring Foundation Claims Miami Exhibit Is Showing Fakes

The foundation that holds the intellectual property rights of the late artist Keith Haring filed a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit over an art show in Miami.

Haring, who is best known for his cartoon-line “Radiant Baby” images, was a social activist and artist who died of AIDS in 1990 at the age of 31.

According to the complaint filed in federal court March 8, most of the works exhibited at the Haring Miami show, held this past weekend in Miami’s Moore Building, were “fakes, forgeries, counterfeits and/or infringements.”

According to the complaint, the exhibition catalog contains a disclaimer that some of the work being shown “has not been submitted or examined by the Keith Haring Foundation for authenticity.” The foundation says this disclaimer fails to note that many of the works had been submitted for authentication and were found to be inauthentic.

A representative of the New York-based Keith Haring Foundation attended the show’s March 6 opening night and found that of the four floors of exhibited works “approximately 8 works were real works of Haring.” Many who attended the show “believed the art being displayed was by Keith Haring,” according to court papers.

The foundation claims that of about 80 paintings in the show, only one was an authentic work by Haring. “Each of these works of art, if they were really Haring works, would be worth in the range of $500,000 to $1 million,” according to the complaint. Putting these works into the market “will cause enormous and irreparable damage” to its reputation, the foundation said.

The foundation said that for the most part, “they are poor quality fake Harings.” The foundation says it is harmed by the actions of the show’s promoters, and asked the court to bar the defendants from advertising, displaying, selling or offering for sale any works not created by Haring that “bear any indicia of Keith Haring.”

Additionally, it asked for impoundment and destruction of the allegedly infringing works, awards of profits the defendants acquired relative to the infringement and for money damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Herman J. Rossomanno III, a Miami-based lawyer for the show’s organizers, said in an e-mail that his clients and the foundation came to an agreement that the show was able to exhibit 10 pieces of Keith Haring artwork.

The case is The Keith Haring Foundation Inc. v. Colored Thumb Corp., 1:13-cv-20830, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).

Avalanche Studios’ Founder Down on Some Anti-Piracy Technologies

The founder of the Swedish game development company Avalanche Studios thinks many elements of digital-rights management technology are more harmful than helpful, the Gaming Bolt computer-game news website reported.

Christofer Sundberg told Gaming Bolt that digital-rights systems that limit the players’ game experience shouldn’t be used.

He said such systems make game developers look greedy and treat the game’s fans like criminals, according to Gaming Bolt.

At the same time, Sundberg acknowledged to Gaming Bolt that piracy can inhibit game development, saying developers deserve to be paid for what he says is years of hard work.

For more copyright news, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Slind-Flor in Oakland, California, at vslindflor@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.